The Urbana Police arrested a less-than-patriotic nimrod on the 4th of July after images of him burning the flag surfaced on social media. But it turns out the reason they arrested him may be even funnier than you’d originally thought.
[Scroll Down For Video Filled With NSFW Ranting Language]
Bryton Mellott, 22, posted images on Facebook on showing him burning the American flag. On one of the images, he even included the caption “not proud” to be an American.
He’s not proud to be an American. That’s cool. Turns out many Americans aren’t that proud of Mellot.
“In this moment,” Mellot wrote “being proud of my country is to ignore the atrocities committed against people of color, people living in poverty, people who identify as women, and against my own queer community on a daily basis.”
That’s when the death threats started pouring in. Mellot freaked out about the death threats, and deleted all of his social media excrement. But the damage was done–his posts had been copied and shared hundreds of times.
And here’s the irony. Mellot claims he has the right to burn the flag. He claims this is free speech. But he doesn’t like the death threats and derision. See it is fine for him to speak as freely as he’d like, and to burn the flag, but it isn’t fine for anyone else to speak freely–not if it offends the fragile Mellot.
So the Urbana Police stepped in, to keep order. They gave him a warning, saying that his posts were disrupting order and creating a potential for violent retribution–not just to Mellot, but to others who could get caught up in his free expression. When Mellot didn’t stop his postings, the police came back. They arrested Mellot and charged him with desecrating an American flag, which, it turns out, is a real crime.
Here’s what some people seem to miss; speech is what comes out of your mouth. Maybe your pen, if you want to think metaphorically about it. Setting fire to objects has very little to do with speech.
Mellot will now get to test fear in a whole new light. In jail. That can be a rough place for a 22 year old who hasn’t grown up.
The video below makes a pretty compelling case against Mr. Mellot. Just a warning, though: the language is rather frank and not kid friendly.